The Baltimore Ravens completed the first half of the 2012 season this past Sunday with a 25-15 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Baltimore currently leads the AFC North by one game over the Pittsburgh Steelers and are 6-2 at the halfway point, good enough for the second best record in the AFC.
There have been some great things done by the Ravens so far this season and there have been some ugly things too, but Ravens101 has brought the Ravens to school and given them a mid-season report card. We have graded a number of aspects of the team so let's see what kind of GPA Baltimore has:
- Offense: (B+) - If there were two separate grades for home offense and road offense we would have seen an A and C, but since we are grading the offense as a whole, we arrive at a B+. The Ravens offense has been very two faced this season, as we have seen this offense produce an average of 32.25 points per game at home, but a miniscule 17.5 on the road, and not surprisingly the Ravens are 4-0 at home and 2-2 on the road. Quarterback Joe Flacco and the no-huddle offense has looked at times unstoppable at home, but dysfunctional on the road, but the bottom line is they have produced six wins in eight tries, any team in the NFL would take that through eight games of the season.
- Defense: (B) – The defense has been the recipient of a lot of criticism during the entire season so far, and rightfully so, but Baltimore's defense is still holding opposing offenses to 22 points per game, and that number would be lower if you take out pick sixes from the opposing defenses. Now, the defense allows the 7th most yards per game, the 5th most rushing yards per game, and the 11th most passing yards per game, but their 22 points per game ranks in the top half of the league. So what are they doing to keep the scoring down? Easy, they have been outstanding in the red zone and have allowed 21 field goals as opposed to 16 touchdowns on the season. The 16 touchdowns allowed is T-6th least in the NFL.
- Special Teams: (A-) - The special teams has really been the star of the show thus far this season for the Ravens. Their coverage has been outstanding as they rank in the top half of the league in both punt return average yards and kickoff return average yards per return. Also rookie kicker Justin Tucker is 15-16 in field goal attempts with four over 50 yards and punter Sam Koch is performing well.
- Coaching: (C+) – The coaching staff receives the worst grade so far this season due largely to the fact of this team's struggles on the road. I know that the players have to play, but the coaching staff has to put them in a situation to perform well too. We have seen the Ravens completely abandon the run on the road when it was working, and until this past Sunday the coaching staff was reluctant to reel back the no-huddle offense on the road, but in Cleveland they did this and the offense was great for a quarter and a half.
- Baltimore Ravens: (B+) – The team as whole receives a B+ because there are some major aspects of their game that need to be improved upon, but this team is still 6-2 with the second best record in the AFC and lead the AFC North by one game. Baltimore is also +7 in the turnover ratio, which is third best in the AFC.
All in all, Baltimore fans (although you couldn't tell if you listen to Baltimore Sports Radio and watch TV "experts") should be satisfied with where this team is, they are 6-2! Plus, and I feel most importantly, this Baltimore team has shown that they can win close games. The Ravens have played six games that have been within one score in the fourth quarter and have won five of them. They have shown they are not afraid to fight when the going gets tough, and that should make any Ravens fan happy.
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